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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Lucky Shot

The Miami Dolphins are a lousy football team.  Even their most passionate fans, like the long-suffering ACOS, would agree with this assessment.  Interestingly, though, many Dolphins' fans have not only resigned themselves to a losing season, they have actively embraced their situation; indeed, many hope that the team, currently 0-5, goes on to complete a winless season.  The reason goes by the name of Andrew Luck.

Luck is the Stanford University quarterback and, barring calamity, the consensus number one pick in next year's NFL draft.  Luck, a senior, is so highly regarded that, if he had left Stanford after his junior season, he would likely have been the top pick last year.  In the NFL, unlike the National Basketball Association, the number-one pick goes automatically to the team with the worst record.  Thus, fans in Miami, Seattle, Kansas City, Minnesota, and, to a lesser extent, St. Louis (where a previous top pick, Sam Bradford, is still learning the ropes) and Indianapolis (where fans hope for a Peyton Manning resurrection) cross their fingers and hope their teams not only fail, but fail big--too "Suck for Luck," as the movement has been dubbed.

Peyton Manning, in fact, is the last quarterback who generated such levels of Luck-like enthusiasm.  When he finished his career at the University of Tennessee, everyone knew he would go on to a stellar professional career.  He has brought the Indianapolis Colts to the playoffs numerous times and to the Super Bowl twice, winning once.  Just how good Manning is can be seen by the dismal performance of the Colts this year, as Manning recovers from off-season neck surgery.  Without him, Indianapolis has yet to win their first game.

At the same time, football fans hoping their team qualifies for a Lucky shot should bear in mind that top draft picks don't always work out as well as expected.  Just ask the Raiders, who made JaMarcus Russell, who is no longer playing football, the number-one pick a few years back.  We should also remember that, the same year that Peyton Manning was the "consensus" number-one pick, there was some discussion as to whether the quarterback who was eventually picked number two was actually better than Manning.  The could-have-been "consensus" pick?  Ryan Leaf.


As a Jets' fan, I'm wrestling with two dilemmas:

(A) The Jets play Miami on "Monday Night Football" tomorrow, but I have a class to teach.  I suppose it would be wrong to cancel class, but, Hank Williams, Jr., or not, I am ready for some football!

(B) The bigger dilemma: While I fully expect the Jets to pummel the flyweights of the Caribbean, there would be something satisfying in losing to the Dolphins if it jinxed their chances of drafting Andrew Luck. . . .  I suppose I could look at the game's eventual outcome as a win-win.

By the way, I would just like to say to Andrew Luck, who decided to complete his college career at Stanford rather than reap the immediate payday of a lucrative NFL contract: What are you, an idiot? 

Yes, yes, I know: I'm a teacher.  I'm supposed to be all about education, but really!  As an athlete, you have a limited time to reap the rewards of your chosen profession.  And what if you get injured this year?  Or just have a falling off in your numbers?  Dude, you can complete your degree at Stanford any time you want--after your Hall of Fame induction, perhaps.  You're setting a wonderful example to all the kids out there.  I just hope you don't end up regretting it.

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